John Andrew Parks (by Robert Morgan Fisher) He's the seven-pound star sapphire you find hidden among the boulders in your backyard. The lost Picasso someone's trying to unload at a garage sale. The rare coin jingling among the change in your pocket. When I first saw him live, he was performing solo with his guitar. To say that it was a great musical performance is a vast understatement. This was high theatre. Along with a voice that soars like an eagle bound for the distant stars, this man will prove to be one of the important poet/storytellers of our time. His connection with the audience was uncanny. To quote one critic, "The breath of the audience came to a halt, and that's when I heard my own heart beating". The act was filled with humor, pathos and the rhythm of a steam locomotive. It went from a Texas style bluster, bigger than life, to an intimate whisper that evoked some third, unseen entity seeming to sew us all together into one pulsating spirit. It was unique. Without a doubt, this gentleman was born to perform. John Andrew's early mentors were Roy Orbison and Marty Robbins, both storytellers and extraordinary singers. He had also been influenced by, and worked with, some of the great film score composers such as John Barry, not to mention his classical mentors. In his productions, you can hear a unique sonic style. A master lyricist, he starts by complementing his stories with signature phrasing in a dramatic three-octave range. However, as though that were not enough, John Andrew shifts into a seventh gear, using his skills in musical composition to turn each and every song into a miniature movie. He was once dubbed "The King of Country Eastern" due to the broad stroke of his brush. I can understand this point of view. His story lines run from windblown prairies and old jalopies to shooting stars across the cosmic canvas. As Kenny Rogers once said on NBC Television, "Whether or not you like this song [Planet Texas], you have never heard a song like 'this' one before. John Andrew Parks is one of the greatest singer/songwriting talents I've heard in 20 years." Well that should be enough for now, but let me leave you with this one interesting anecdote: When John Andrew was once asked if he was concerned about falling between the cracks, he replied in his Texas drawl, "S**t-Fire! What are you talking about? I shoot for the cracks, that's where all the flowers grow." BIO: John Andrew Parks was born in Dallas, Texas. He picked up his first guitar when he was three and started performing in first grade. He formed his first band in Jr. High School and was playing the local nightclub circuit by the time he was thirteen. Early on, he developed an avid interest in songwriting, and had his first song recorded by a local band as a sophomore in high school. At seventeen, after a tour in Michigan and Indiana, he moved to Los Angeles; and at eighteen, signed his first recording contract. In his early recordings, he worked with several mega-hit producers such as (Ventures' producer) Joe Saraceno, Jackie Mills and Ted Templeman. This in turn inspired him to hit the road and anchor his songs in the deep roots of real-life experience. This chapter was a solitary one. But, it also sparked the embers of a desire to work with other great artists, which led him to New York City. Here, amid the canyons of concrete, he designed, and operated 'The Ranch' recording studio in Manhattan. The Ranch became a haven for such acts as The Eurhythmics, Plasmatics, Blondie, KT Oslen, and a host of other greats. All the while, in the shadow of the stars, he worked on his songs. During his tenure at The Ranch he learned the art of record production, and worked with many of the legends in the New York Music community such as Marianne Faithful, Dick Wagner (of Alice Cooper fame), and Mike Appel (the renowned manager for Bruce Springsteen). He and Appel produced the groundbreaking record "Planet Texas", written by John Andrew and later on recorded as a single by Kenny Rogers for which John Andrew was awarded a gold record. "Planet Texas" coined a term that would soon be borrowed by the highly successful "Planet Hollywood" restaurant chain. After recording with Appel, John Andrew was signed by the illustrious Bruce Lundvall at Capitol Records. Capitol released his first self-titled album, produced by John Andrew, John Boylan and Jerry Crutchfield, to much critical acclaim. It included his original full-length version of "Planet Texas", still a staple at "Texas Rebel Radio". The music community continues to herald his unique sound and style. Jim Fogelsong, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy winner, commented: "John Andrew Parks' influence will be felt for decades to come."